Download NAKED HOPE for free now through Friday, February 22

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blackbirds-zoomI drifted awake this morning to the sound of blackbirds cawing as they flew past my bedroom window. So many, they blackened the light.

When they’d passed, my window turned golden from a weak but lovely winter sun… the kind that has almost no warmth, and yet holds the ability to brighten the world, and lighten hearts.

sun on snowAccording to spirit animal mysticism, blackbirds indicate change. Often, major change. They foretell of shifts. Shifts of point of view—shifts of the heart—shifts in fortune.

Change.

Here in the northern hemisphere, it’s been a tough winter. So, the gift of sun, no matter how weak, is a welcome gift… and quite a change from the last 65 days.

Change.

Before I left the academic and corporate world to write, I was a “change expert”. I spent years studying the science of change and how people manage change, or don’t. How they adapt to change, or don’t. How change breaks people who can’t or won’t adapt. How people resist change, try to rush change, or slow change.

Human beings just aren’t very good at allowing change to happen naturally. To evolve. And even though I am a so-called “expert”… guess what? I frequently fail when it comes to dealing with change effectively.

Change.

Where I live, in the upper Midwest, we are a long way away from spring. But sun, and a forecast of almost 40 degrees (despite the cover of more than eight inches of fresh snow) hint at change.

perf5.000x8.000.inddAnd here’s another change. For the next four days, my latest contemporary romance,NAKED HOPE is available on Amazon as a FREE DOWNLOAD!

If you prefer print, you can order NAKED HOPE in print for a significant discount, now through Friday.

Change.

The prevalent grey skies of winter are not always the best conductor of romance. So, if you’re a little light on romance at the moment, download NAKED HOPE for free and enjoy the sizzling, sexy, smart and often funny exchanges between Gavin, a gifted musician who suffers from survivor’s guilt, and Jillian, a highly respected research psychologist in the field of traumatic brain injury—who, incidentally, is the only woman who can help Gavin overcome his survivor’s guilt.

But, have you ever heard the phrase Karma’s a bitch”?

Well… Gavin is intimately familiar with just how much burning a bridge can cost. Because fourteen years earlier when Gavin first met Jillian, things did not go well.

Yep… karma’s a bitch.

Or, maybe not 🙂

Read NAKED HOPE for free and find out.

Wishing you soft breezes, the promise of spring, and evolutionary change that fills your life with joy and satisfaction.

Love,
Rebecca E. Grant
Love is Unstoppable
www.rebeccaegrant.com

NAKED HOPE: Contemporary Romance
CRADLE OF LIES: Romantic Suspense
LIBERTY STARR: Contemporary Cowboy Romance
ARIANA SINGS: One Woman’s Journey to Find Her Voice nonfiction, spirituality

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Today’s question: How do you feel sexy in minus 39 (F) degree weather?

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2 sexy

Today’s question: How do you feel sexy in minus 39 (F) degree weather? Back to this in a moment.

We’ve all had this experience… we get word that a friend or beloved family member has passed, and scurry to arrange our lives to attend the funeral or memorial service. Sometimes these events only touch the surface of our hearts—maybe we weren’t close to the one who passed and so it’s more of an obligatory act of respect.

Other times, it ruins us… for a day… a week… years… and for some, even a lifetime.

A week ago, I set aside a day to drive three hours one way, across a little-traveled highway to attend a funeral. My friend Laura’s father passed unexpectedly. He was only 68.

I grew up in the heart of a large city, and have lived in the suburbs most of my adult life. I’ve never had the experience of living rurally. Freeways and well-traveled city streets—that’s how I get around.

minnesota-mapAnd so, I  didn’t even realize there are still two-lane highways that stretch out across the flatlands, the prairies, the rolling hills, around the many lakes (frozen this time of year), and the richly wooded areas that make up the beautiful state of Minnesota.

January 15th—the very heart of winter. Here in Minnesota, that means sub-zero temperatures, generous and frequent snowfalls, icy roads, short days with scant sunlight, none of which makes for favorable travel across the state on a two-lane highway, to a tiny town I’d never heard of before. I don’t have a GPS, and I wasn’t 100% certain my directions (downloaded from the Internet) were accurate. We’ve all “been there”, right?

*smile*

I watched the weather reports aware that if I drove to the funeral, I had a very small window of (weather) opportunity. I’d have to be up at 6 AM, on the road by 8 AM, arrive in time for an 11:00 funeral, allow 90 minutes for the funeral and a quick hug for my grieving friend, and back on the road by 12:30 so that I could be home before the worst of the snow fell making the roads treacherous.

And then it occurred to me… this would be so much easier to do with a friend. So I called Sandy, a mutual friend whom I’ve never spent time with outside of work or a group of acquaintances, and we agreed to go together… and she was more than happy to drive.

So… true confession moment… {sigh}… I’m kind of a control freak. (Who isn’t?)

*smile*

And I generally prefer to be the driver.
And, I’d never ridden with Sandy before.
And, I sometimes have issues with motion, so a smooth driver is really important.
And, what if she wasn’t a good driver.

You see, the list goes on and on…

*another smile*

But, as I weighed the above list against driving… the only thing to do was to get quiet—to meditate—to center myself—after which I hoped to be able to just allow the day trip to simply unfold.

The day of the funeral, the temperature was minus 8 F with a bitter windchill of minus 25 F. We got a late start, the directions downloaded from the Internet were slightly inaccurate—enough to make us wonder if we’d get there at all—we were stuck behind slow moving cars for most of the drive. Fortunately, the funeral started late—in a tiny town that, unless you happen to live there, no one has ever heard of—in a forgotten farming community—yet, more than 400 people showed up!

And there, in the front of the church sat a shiny ancient John Deere tractor. The first tractor the family had ever had—a fine tribute to the man who not only farmed—but who believed in farming.

john-deere-tractor-04

Sandy and I surveyed the area. No place to park. I was in heels and a knee-length skirt. Sandy had dressed a bit more practical and wore woolen slacks. She offered to drop me off and normally I would not have agreed, but it was so close to 11:00, and I felt compelled not to argue—a strong, intuitive nudge that I knew was important to listen to.

And so I simply agreed, trying not to feel guilty that Sandy would probably have to walk two or three blocks back to the church, across icy streets and sidewalks, after she found a parking spot.

I stepped into the church—actually, I was blown in on an unforgiving gale that nearly toppled me forward (really, it wasn’t the high heels!)—just as Laura and her family were moving away from the casket that cradled her father’s body. Laura was crying loud, broken tears—the kind that rip out the back of your throat—and fill your eyes, blind. She stumbled and then swung in my direction as if someone had pointed and said, “Look, Rebecca’s here.”

Laura propelled herself into my arms. We clung to each other—locked in grief and love. I have often felt that Laura is the daughter I never had. And as I held this lovely woman, who in that moment was so broken by grief, I felt humbled by the immense power of love. The force of friendship. The bond of connection. The strength of people interknit by the grace of community, hard work, and common faith.

When she could speak, she asked me to stay after the service until they returned from the grave site.

“Of course,” I murmured.

Meanwhile… Sandy walked four blocks in minus 8 F weather after parking the car, and blew into the church much like I had. We squeezed into the back of the sanctuary and sat watching the bowed, balding and greyed heads of so many farming families, their bodies bent and grisly from the labor of their work. We listened to the words of the Lutheran minister with his slight Scandinavian accent who clearly knew Laura’s father well. We sang from an outdated Lutheran hymnal, sat in the vibration of the soloist’s voice who sang The Lord’s Prayer, watched in silence as Laura, her two sisters, and their mother grappled with the moment they would say good-bye to this giant of a man who was the cornerstone of their family.

The service ran long…

The family was delayed at the grave site.

Starving, Sandy and I waited, and were the very last to go through the food line. We loaded scalloped potatoes with ham, and green bean casserole onto our paper plates, picked up a cup of stout, black coffee and crowded in (butt-to-butt) at the long tables in fellowship hall where we listened to more stories about Laura’s dad, and of course, when people found out we were headed back to “the cities”, dire predictions about the weather—which was turning (for the worse) while we sat—waiting—keeping a vigil for Laura.

Because she asked us to.

We were way off schedule by the time we left that tiny little town, the wind whistling at our back… until we hit the highway… and then it blew straight into us, icing the windshield, frosting the surface of the highway, creating an icy road.

blowing-snow

It’s been a week since that trip, and just now I sent off an email to Sandy, whom I haven’t connected with since the funeral.

Dear Sandy,

I’ve been meaning to drop you a line.

I felt your heart… while you were driving like a champ… while we were sitting in the back of the church where our friend has done so much of her growing up… taking a break from the treacherous drive back to eat really awful (how old were they???) treats in a bakery that looked so charming from the outside… making our way over a highway as it began to ice… nosing our way through blinding, swirling, white-out conditions.

I believe those are the kind of experiences that create memories (and smiles) and bind friends together on a deeper level.

So… thanks for the adventure, for your courageous determination (is Michael Andretti your cousin?) and oh, by the way… I know what to get you for your birthday… see below 🙂

red driving gloves

Soft breezes, friend of my heart!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Now… may I just say… today is even colder than the day of our little adventure. The perf5.000x8.000.inddschools are closed due to cold. And this leads me to my question of the day…

How do you feel sexy in minus 39 degree (Fahrenheit) weather?

Well, if you want to know how Jillian and Gavin manage “sexy” in a Minnesota winter, read my latest release, NAKED HOPE, now available in print and ebook through the publisher, The Wild Rose Press or at a slightly discounted rate on Amazon.com.

As always, thanks for dropping by, soft breezes and stay warm!

PS: I’ve conferred with Jillian and she agrees… red leather driving gloves are just about guaranteed to make a girl feel sexy… no matter the season 🙂

Love,

Rebecca E. Grant
Love is Unstoppable

CRADLE OF LIES – Romantic Suspense – Red Sage Publishing
LIBERTY STARR – Sensual Contemporary award winner-Romance Writers Ink–Carina Press
Latest release: NAKED HOPE – Contemporary Romance available in print and e-book
The Wild Rose Press (print only)
Amazon (ebook and print)

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WEBSITE * LOVE IS UNSTOPPABLE BLOG * FACEBOOK * TWITTER * LINKEDIN

Introducing Dr. Jillian Cole

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Dr. Jillian Cole is a highly respected research psychologist in the field of traumatic brain injury. Her scientific breakthroughs and methods are singularly unmatched… but may be too much for Gavin Fairfield, whose ten year-old daughter suffered a tragic accident.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Jill’s fingers moved decisively through the test packets and other instruments she needed, more than a little aware Gavin Fairfield watched her every move. She pulled her laptop from its docking station, and turned to retrieve her briefcase from the floor, only to find that he’d gotten there first. The casual grace of his lean body as he straightened, and the strength of his outstretched arm from years of conducting orchestras, were all-too familiar. Yet, this more charming mature version of the man she knew to be an egotistical tyrant unnerved her.

Her hand closed over his as she accepted her briefcase. “Mr. Fairfield, I always like to set an agenda so the client is informed.”

“I’m a client now?” he grinned.

Her mouth tightened. “Unless you suffer from Traumatic Brain Injury, you’ll never be the client. As the parent of a potential client who is a minor, we will be establishing three things over the next four days. The first is whether Olivia can navigate the academic rigor of the program?”

“Of course, she can,” he interrupted.

Ignoring him, she continued, “The second is to establish her emotional state. Last, we need to determine whether she has enough emotional support and guidance from her family. Specifically, this will mean looking into you, Mr. Fairfield.”

The maestro gaped.

For the first time since she crossed the threshold of Ross’ office that morning, a smile tugged at the corner of her mouth.

Read an excerpt
Buy the book in print
Buy the book in e-book

Visit my website

As always, thanks for dropping by!

Rebecca E. Grant
Love is Unstoppable

 

NAKED HOPE Limited Print Release

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ANNOUNCING…

Exclusive limited print release of my latest contemporary romance, NAKED HOPE through The Wild Rose Press, available now!

perf5.000x8.000.indd

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Read early reader reviews

Back Cover:

    Research psychologist Jillian Cole’s tendency to fall for emotionally unavailable men has taught her to question every man’s motives. Specializing in the field of traumatic brain injury, Jill is faced with a case involving the child of a former college professor who crushed her music career years ago.

Music celebrity Gavin Fairfield is wracked by survivor’s guilt following the accident that caused his daughter’s brain injury. He refuses to believe medical evidence and clings to hope that she’ll regain her amazing talent.

Their clash over treatment methods brings them together and there is no denying their magnetic attraction. When Gavin’s hope relating to his daughter’s recovery results in disappointing consequences, can Gavin and Jillian’s love for each other help them find their way?

Rating: Sensual
Page Count: 384

www.RebeccaEGrant.com
Love is Unstoppable

Five Star Review for NAKED HOPE

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Released three days ago, I’m honored to share the first reader review of my latest contemporary romance, NAKED HOPE!

“I’ve been looking forward to reading Rebecca E. Grant’s next book, Naked Hope ever since I read her first two books, LIBERTY STARR and CRADLE OF LIES and all I can say is, this writer just gets better and better. She really knows how to interweave an intricate story line, complex characters, humor, and really hot sex—always with an elegant turn of phrase and tasteful treatment.

I loved LIBERTY STARR, and then when her second book CRADLE OF LIES came out, I thought she’d never be able to top that story.

But then along comes a story like NAKED HOPE and suddenly, instead of cowboys, I’m dreaming of musicians… and I’ve NEVER been inclined to dream of musicians before (nothing against you musicians but you do have a reputation for being temperamental and Gavin is no exception. LOL)

While this story centers around the lives of Gavin (musician) and his daughter who suffers from a brain injury, and there are some family elements in the story, they’re very limited as the focus is on the sparking, heat-seeking, sensual attraction these two opposites who seem to have almost nothing in common, have for each other.

Then, slowly, in true Rebecca E. Grant style, as the author brings Jillian and Gavin together, we begin to see just how much they really do have in common. And just how much they belong together, if only… (and I won’t give the story away by explaining beyond “if only”).

I will say I’ve never read a book like this, and I’ll bet you haven’t either.

Gavin is gallant, a bit egotistical and demanding, yet tender. Jill is an award winning psychologist who can hold her own, even with a powerful man like Gavin. They are the type of characters you can’t help but fall in love with.

Scorching sex, and a palpable sense of what hope means to someone who has nothing else to hold on to, define this book as a true hallmark of quality women’s fiction.

A few chapters into the book and I was already looking forward to the movie—this has to be made into a movie!

I’d give this book ten stars on a five star scale.”

Read the review on Amazon

Purchase NAKED HOPE

My heartfelt thanks to the writer of this review, and to all of you reading NAKED HOPE, it is my (if you’ll pardon the pun) ‘naked hope’ that you’ll love it every bit as much as I do, and as this reviewer does.

Wishing you an exquisite new year,
Rebecca E. Grant http://www.RebeccaEGrant.com
Love is Unstoppable

NAKED HOPE cover revealed!

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Hello Everyone!

This is such a happy moment for me!

I’m so excited to reveal the cover for my latest contemporary romance, Naked Hope, releasing through The Wild Rose Press mid-summer, 2013!

I want to send a special shout out to Rae Monet, the cover artist. She’s amazing!

Naked Hope is the first romance I ever wrote… the first draft was written more than twenty years ago… and while I’m not one to be self-denigrating… let’s just say that it was perhaps one of the ugliest drafts ever produced 😉

But, at last the story is what it was meant to be and I’m so pleased to be sharing it with you.

Naked Hope makes its debut in early 2013.

Below is a brief excerpt. You can read more on my website. Stay tuned for more updates, and if you’re in the northern hemisphere, stay warm! If you’re in the southern hemisphere… we envy you your beautiful summer!

XOXO Rebecca E. Grant

Love is Unstoppable

www.rebeccaegrant.com

Naked Hope—Chapter One

The oppressive late summer heat clung to Jillian Cole like shrink wrap and followed her as she pushed through the heavy-framed door of the Wilson Institute. Air conditioning must be out again. She peeled off her light shrug and headed down the shiny tiled hallway.

Just outside Dean Chapman’s office, Nona, the dean’s administrative assistant, blocked her path holding a tall glass of ice water. “Take this in with you.”

Jill glanced at her watch. “He’s thirsty already? We haven’t even gotten started yet.”

Nona shook her head, a smirk flirting on her lips. “That’s for you.”

“For me?” Jill’s serious demeanor warmed. “Thanks, Nona. I noticed the air’s out again.” Gratefully, she lifted the glass to drink.

Nona’s grin broadened. She inclined her head toward the dean’s office. “Better save it for in there.”

Jill offered a confident snort.  “No worries. After seven years, this meeting is practically routine. I act indignant and offended, Ross acts like he’s in charge, but in the end, we always manage a reasonable compromise.”

Jill swung open Ross Chapman’s door.

Two men’s heads turned. One man stood and took several steps in her direction.

She faltered. Her ice water sloshed. Before any spilled, she steadied her glass and took a less-than-delicate swallow. Sweat broke out and beaded across the back of her neck just under her hairline. Gavin Fairfield! Here?

Fairfield’s energy saturated the room like some kind of exotic elixir. The years had been good to him despite the highly publicized tragedy. Tall and tanned with well-muscled arms, Gavin looked as rugged and as aristocratic as she remembered, with two exceptions. The hair at his temples displayed a hint of premature gray that he wore well. More noticeable, though, were his eyes, heavy-lidded and watchful, indicating a great deal of experience keeping the world at arm’s length. Tragedy certainly had a way of tearing at the spirit.

“Ah, Dr. Cole, there you are! Come in, come in.” Ross greeted, pointing to the leather sofa on which their guest sat. “Maestro, I’d like you to meet Dr. Jillian Cole. Jill is in charge of our curricula for kids with traumatic brain injury.” Ross’ smile widened. “We’re very proud of our Dr. Cole. She’s this year’s American Psychological Association’s award recipient for Traumatic Brain Injury Research in Children. Jill, meet the maestro Gavin Fairfield. He is an eminent pianist, composer and conductor here with the Minneapolis Orchestra, and a member of the faculty at the University of Minnesota.”

Would he remember her? Jill extended her hand. The sweat collecting on the back of her neck gave way and trickled down her spine. Her lips stuck as they split over her teeth in what she hoped was a gracious, professional smile.

He grasped her hand, held it a beat longer than necessary, and allowed his gaze to probe hers.

Commanding and cast against his face with the symmetry of a poem, his eyes were a fusion of blue and gray. But where was the heat—the fire she remembered so well? She revised her earlier assessment. Haunted, not distant. However he might try to hide it, Gavin Fairfield harbored a deep sadness.

Jill approached the sofa, eying the nonabsorbent leather surface. If she didn’t stop sweating, she’d leave a telltale puddle.

More at www.rebeccaegrant.com

Structure is the Name of the Game

No matter how experienced you are, or how many books you have published, it’s always helpful to ‘sharpen the saw’ and go back to the basics. I’m deep into a rewrite of my current work in progress, and found Sloane’s tips a vastly helpful refresher.
From Sloane Taylor’s blog, “Sweet as honey… Hotter than hell”
Sloane writes… Structure is the Name of the Game
Let’s work on Syntax and Tighten the Writing. By doing the former you will achieve much of the later.

Syntax is the patterns of formations of sentences and phrases from words and the rules of the formation of grammatical sentences in a language.

Don’t you just love Webster definitions? They make everything so unclear.

In plain English, Syntax means the word arrangement and sentence structure.

Remember that old song by Tom Jones, and later Joe Cocker, “You Can Leave Your Hat On”? It was sexy, vibrant, and made you want to, ahh… er… leave only your hat on.

The phrasing is great for lyrics and dialogue, but oh so wrong for narrative. Why? You should never end a sentence with a preposition. Yes, it sounds right. Yes, we talk that way. Grammatically it is incorrect.

How should it read? “You can leave on your hat.” Sure doesn’t have the same impact does it?

Frequently, grammatical sentences don’t have the same effect and if you find this to be true save the prepositional endings for your dialogue. Sometimes you can’t help but use them in narrative because you need that force or dramatic effect. It’s okay but use it sparingly.

Here’s an example of what Redmond O’Hanlon, Into the Heart of Borneo, Vintage 1987, got away with in his novel;

“My companion, James Fenton, however, whose idea the venture was, enigmatic, balding, an ex-correspondent of the war in Vietnam and Cambodia, a jungle in himself, was a wise old man in these matters.”

I don’t know if Fenton did this as a joke on his editor, if it got missed in the edits, or he wanted this sentence to read as written. But I will guarantee you won’t get away with this type of writing with today’s editors. Be sure to read your work aloud and correct any sentences that are convoluted.

ALOUD is the key word here. Read your work aloud. I can’t stress this enough. It’s the only way to allow your ear to pick up the errors. Sure you’ll feel stupid doing it, even if you are home alone locked in your closet. Get over it. We all experience the same reaction. Here’s your option; let your book go to an editor with written garble and expect a nice form rejection in the return mail.

When you read aloud look for;

• Does your intent come across – action, suspense, romance, sorrow?
• Does something detract from your meaning?
• Fine-tune your sentences until they sound perfect, rhythmic, to your ear.

To further Tighten the Writing get rid of unnecessary words. It will make your writing sound stronger. Those expendable words are, but not limited to;

• A little
• Almost
• Anyway
• At the present time
• Began to
• By means of
• Certainly
• Considering the fact that
• Definitely
• Even
• Is/was/were
• Just
• So
• Some
• That
• Very

Be concise, don’t ramble on with your descriptions. Think about the sections you skim or avoid when you read a novel. Don’t allow that to happen to your reader. Make sure you haven’t flooded a section with so much back story or description you are boring the reader. Get rid of the excess because most of it won’t matter.

Please don’t write you book via Roget’s Thesaurus. Today’s editors want meat in a book, not fat. Readers do not want authors to written down to them. Use the everyday words of your speech and not some $20.00 word that has your reader reaching for their Webster’s.

Avoid clichés like the plague. Get the idea? You are a writer – so write something new.

I’m not being bitchy here. I want you to get published. We should have millions of new books available from the reliable E-publishers and on the shelves of every type bookstore. But, if you don’t do your job the numbers will be low and our future generations won’t have the role models they need.

Have a wonderful weekend. I’ll be back Monday with The Immortal Tux. Until then…

Happy Writing!

Sloane Taylor

To all, hope your weekend is fabulous!
Rebecca E. Grant
Love is Unstoppable
LIBERTY STARR I Contemporary Cowboy Romance
Where the Magic Begins Sensual Contemporary Award winner, 2011 (RWI)

** Coming Soon **
NAKED HOPE | Contemporary Romance published by The Wild Rose Press
Read excerpt
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